Entrepreneurship is f*cking hard. There’s no other way to put it.
Today’s young culture is filled with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build the next billion dollar app. It’s the ‘go big or go home’ mentality that’s ingrained in so many new and young founders. We read a fabricated press release online or an inspiring documentary of the ‘1 in a million’ founder who made it big.
And it excites the hell out of us.
“If these guys can do it, why can’t I?” you tell yourself. But the truth is, the media leaves out the ugly sh*t, while keeping the flashy headline.
Why? Because people don’t want to hear about your early startup struggles, until you succeed. And it’s in the interest of media companies to capture your attention.
Look, I have no interest in bringing down someone’s ambition level. But when you enter the boxing ring without understanding how to defend yourself, you’re going to get knocked out.
With that said, here are some ugly truths about being an entrepreneur that you should know. These aren’t just random stories I’ve heard through the grapevine, but first-hand experiences I’ve been through while building my language learning company.
1. You’ll Be Misunderstood
The best entrepreneurs have a massive, long-term vision of where they want their company to go. You spend all of your waking days thinking, planning, and executing this vision, and this process continues for years and years.
This obsessive focus and vision is a common trait of most successful entrepreneurs. And no one but you will truly understand the vision. Not your friends, family members, and not even your team members.
Be prepared to be fight for your vision.
2. You’ll Put a Smile On Even If You Feel Like Breaking Down
Roller Coasters are a common analogy of describing an entrepreneur’s day. At 8 A.M. you may feel on top of the world because you got a new customers, but by 12 P.M. you could hit the lowest part of your year.
The point is, sh*t happens. But when you have team members that depend on your leadership, pouting and complaining is not allowed. You’ve got to play many roles as an entrepreneur, and being a cheerleader is certainly one of them.
3. You’ll Be Broke. For Awhile.
And I’m talking years. The length will vary based on how fast your business grows, and the level of ambition you have.
The first, second, third, and even fifth year, you may make less than minimum wage per hour. Even if your business is quickly growing, reinvesting the profits is a necessary requirement if you want to keep growing.
Forget fancy dinners, luxurious cars, and glamorous parties. Not until you earn it.
4. You’ll Throw Away Work-Life Balance
This is especially tough if you have a family to take care of (i.e. children, spouse, etc.).
Time management is key here, but the reality is, it’ll never balance out. In the early years, you’ll wake up at dawn, come home late, and barely have time to catch up on what happened during the day. Chances are, you’ll want to leave all it at the door.
5. You’ll Be The Janitor, Customer Support, and Psychologist
If there’s paper on the floor, you’ll pick it up. If there’s an order that needs to be fulfilled, you’ll roll up your sleeves and ship it. If an employee is facing personal issues, you better be there to listen and show your support.
Sometimes, you’ll do all of this in the span of ten minutes. Then repeat.
6. You’ll Have to Take Care of Not One, But Two Families
The difference between building a decent business and a massive business is people. Your team will become extended family members that you’ll likely spend more time with than your own family.
But it doesn’t end there. The well being of your team member’s families are now resting on the success of your company. That’s the dotted line you place your signature on.
7. You’ll Give and Sacrifice Everything You Have With No Guarantee of Success
This is probably the hardest truth to face. You pour your sweat, blood, and tears into a vision you want to bring to life, with zero assurances that it will stand the test of time.
And most of us have heard the statistic. Most businesses will fail. That’s the risk of entrepreneurship.
But there’s a massive difference between knowing it intellectually versus experiencing it first hand.
This may not be an exact blueprint of what every entrepreneur will face, but it’s pretty damn close. If you’ve made it this far and you didn’t even flinch, congrats. If you’re an entrepreneur experiencing one of these truths, hope you can stay strong. You’re certainly not alone.